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South Asia Security Monitor - No. 312

Edited by Jeff Smith and John Ambrose
January 21, 2013


INDIA'S ARMY CHIEF WARNS OF RETALIATION AFTER KASHMIR VIOLENCE
In the latest fallout from the sporadic outbreak of violence along the India-Pakistan Line of Control (LoC) last week, India’s army chief, Gen. Bikram Singh, accused Pakistani forces of planning the attack that left 2 Indian soldiers dead. India, Gen. Singh said, reserved the right to retaliate at the time and place of its choosing. The incident began on January 6, when Pakistan accused India of raiding an army post along the LoC that resulted in the death of a Pakistani soldier. India maintains that the exchange of fire was in response to previous Pakistani shelling. With 4 soldiers dead in total, this marks the deadliest incident along the LoC since the signing of the comprehensive ceasefire nearly a decade ago. Pakistani officials have called for a UN inquiry but Indian officials have spoken out against this proposal, saying they do not want to “internationalize” the issue. Military leaders from both sides met on Monday in an attempt to diffuse tensions, and initial reports have suggested that leaders have agreed to de-escalate. [ABC News, 1/13/13], [Reuters, 1/13/12], [Dawn, 1/16/13]

BURMA STEPS UP OFFENSIVE AGAINST KACHIN REBELS 
Three civilians were killed and several others wounded as a result of a series of artillery strikes by the Burmese military against targets in the town of Laiza in Burma’s northern Kachin province. These artillery strikes have come as part of a larger offensive by the central Burmese government against the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), an ethnic separatist group that wields significant influence in the province’s rural areas. The Burmese government has defended the strikes as an act of self-defense following the KIO’s refusal to allow supply convoys to reach a military base located in the province. The recent offensive is the latest in a series of escalations since late 2011 that have reignited the conflict between the KIO and the central government, following nearly 2 decades of peace under a 1994 ceasefire. The military campaign has drawn criticism from the United States and UN and could serve as a stain on the new Burmese government seeking to bolster its reformist credentials. [The Guardian, 1/13/13]

INDIAN, CHINESE OFFICIALS HOLD ANNUAL DEFENSE DIALOGUE
Chinese and Indian defense officials met on Monday in Beijing as part of the fifth Annual Defense Dialogue (ADD) between the two countries. Officials discussed the strengthening of bilateral military ties and codified a plan for bilateral military exchanges in 2013. The most notable development is that India and China will resume a series of joint military exercises that have been on hold for five years. After holding their first-ever joint army exercises in 2007 and 2008, bilateral military exercises were frozen amid a spike in Sino-Indian tensions in 2009 and a row over China’s policy of stapling visas to Indian officials from Kashmir. The resumption of bilateral military exercises a general thaw in the relationship over the past two years. [Times of India, 1/13/13], [Daily News & Analysis, 1/14/13], [UPI, 1/15/13]

DEATH TOLL IN WAVE OF PAKISTANI BOMBINGS RISES TO 120
The death toll in last week’s wave of deadly bombings across Pakistan has risen to 120 following the death of five more victims. The series of bombings appeared to target Pakistani Shias, who have found themselves increasingly under fire from militant Sunni groups. The attacks have sparked outrage in the Shia community, which has accused the government of failing to address rising sectarianism and militancy in Pakistani society. In response to the bombings and subsequent Shia protests, the Pakistani government has ousted the cabinet and Chief Minister of Baluchistan, elected by the provincial assembly, temporarily replacing him with the sitting Governor of Baluchistan, a more ceremonial position appointed by the central government. Three bombings occurred in the city of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, while a fourth bombing killed 22 people in Swat. Two militant groups, Lashkar e-Jhangvi and the United Baluch Army claimed responsibility for separate bombings in Quetta, with no immediate claim of responsibility being made for the SWAT bombing. [The Guardian, 1/13/13], [Reuters, 1/14/13]


Related Categories: Southeast Asia; South Asia; South Asia Program

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